Two big questions: 1) Did Ballmer lose Gates' support? The Microsoft chairman's backing of Ballmer in the face of intense criticism is widely seen as a reason he has held onto the top job for such a long time. 2) Did activist investor ValueAct (reportedly seeking a board seat) play a role, and if it did, will its other ideas now have an audience?
Twitter is abuzz, with reactions to the move (unsurprisingly) quite favorable.
Microsoft continues to surge, shares +8.7% premarket to $35.20. News of Ballmer's departure has added $24B to the software giant's market cap.
Ballmer has sent out a memo. "I take this step in the best interests of the company I love."
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